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Willow Grove is a census-designated place (CDP) in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. A community in Philadelphia's northern suburbs, the population was 15,726 at the 2010 census. It is located in Upper Dublin Township, Abington Township and Upper Moreland Township. Willow Grove was once known for Willow Grove Park, an amusement park that was open from 1896 to 1976, now the site of Willow Grove Park Mall. Willow Grove is considered an edge city of Philadelphia with large amounts of retail and office space.
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove was located northwest of the Willow Grove CDP in Horsham Township. NAS JRB Willow Grove transitioned into Horsham Air National Guard Station in September 2011.
Willow Grove is located at 40°08′46″N 75°07′00″W (40.146109, -75.116641).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), of which 0.28% is water. It has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) and its hardiness zone is 7a.
As of the 2010 census, the CDP was 81.4% White, 8.2% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 4.9% Asian, 1.1% were Some Other Race, and 2.3% were two or more races. 3.5% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,234 people, 6,389 households, and 4,255 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,485.7 people per square mile (1,731.5/km2). There were 6,582 housing units at an average density of 1,818.7/sq mi (702.0/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 88.57% White, 6.58% African American, 0.09% Native American, 3.06% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.57% of the population.
There were 6,389 households, out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 22.9% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $50,378, and the median income for a family was $62,163. Males had a median income of $40,393 versus $32,451 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $24,740. About 2.8% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.
Willow Grove's history spans nearly three centuries. Following a land grant established by William Penn, known as the Manor of Moreland, the first home was built in 1719. The colonial farmstead slowly grew into a small rural community. By the mid-19th century, Willow Grove served as a summer vacation retreat for Philadelphia residents.
Dr. Nicholas More, an English friend and business associate of William Penn, was granted 9,815 acres of land at an annual rent of a silver shilling for every 100 acres. Originally known as “The Manor of Moreland”, it became the Township of Moreland in 1718. The name officially became Willow Grove about 1792 when it appeared on a map of Pennsylvania townships. The planting of willow trees to absorb the surrounding swampland strengthened the decision to give Willow Grove its name.
The Willow Grove area enjoys its place in Revolutionary War history, as well. Washington’s troops marched through Willow Grove in 1777 on their way to the Battle of Brandywine, and the famous Battle of Crooked Billet took place in the vicinity of Hatboro. The Willow Grove area was also a major player in the efforts of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Old York Road was a primary route through Pennsylvania, leading slaves to freedom in Canada.
As with many early communities, Willow Grove experienced rapid growth and development, thanks to railroad and trolley expansion toward the end of the 19th, and early 20th centuries. Less than a day’s trip away from Philadelphia and attracted by the country, more and more inns and restaurants sprang up. The economy enjoyed a growth spurt and the Willow Grove area blossomed.
“Life is a lark in Willow Grove Park” With travel and accommodations readily available and to stimulate travel on the increasingly popular trolleys, the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company decided to build an amusement park in Willow Grove, at the end of the line. Willow Grove Park opened in 1896 and was the prototype for numerous parks that followed across the country.
The Park also enjoyed its reputation as the “Music Capital of America” with orchestras and bands, especially John Philip Sousa, who was a regular in the band shell starting in 1901. In 1926, more than 100,000 people attended Sousa’s last annual concert in the park, after twenty-five years of making music in the area. In 1976, Willow Grove Park gave way to innovation and progress once again, when it was razed to make way for a new retail concept – the mall. The Willow Grove Park Mall opened in 1982. As they had since the early days, the residents of Willow Grove were ready once again to innovate and grow.
Asplundh Tree Expert Company is based in Willow Grove.
China Airlines operates the Philadelphia Mini Office (Chinese: 費城營業所 Fèichéng Yíngyèsuǒ) in Building 39G at 2300 Computer Avenue in the Willow Grove CDP and in Upper Moreland Township.
Willow Grove is served by the Willow Grove Interchange (exit 343) along the east-west Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 276), which connects to Pennsylvania Route 611. Major roads serving Willow Grove are Pennsylvania Route 611 (Old York Road/Easton Road), Pennsylvania Route 263 (York Road), Pennsylvania Route 63 (Moreland Road), Fitzwatertown Road, Terwood Road, Davisville Road, Easton Road, and Old Welsh Road.
Willow Grove is served by the Willow Grove station on SEPTA Regional Rail's Warminster Line, which runs between Warminster and Center City Philadelphia. The community is served by five SEPTA bus routes, with a transit hub at the Willow Grove Park Mall. The Route 22 bus runs between Olney Transportation Center in North Philadelphia and Warminster via Willow Grove and the Route 55 bus runs between Olney Transportation Center and Doylestown via Willow Grove. Both the Route 22 and 55 buses have several trips from Olney Transportation Center that terminate at the Willow Grove Park Mall. The Route 95 bus runs between the Willow Grove Park Mall and Gulph Mills. The Route 310 and Route 311 buses connects the Willow Grove station and the Willow Grove Park Mall to business parks in Horsham.
Norfolk Southern Railway's Morrisville Line freight railroad line passes through Willow Grove, running parallel to the south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Abington–Jefferson Health operates the Abington Health Center–Willow Grove in Willow Grove. The health center, which was founded in 1983, consists of four buildings and offers outpatient hospital services including healthcare programs, medical and administrative offices, and conference and educational facilities.
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